Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gray

The skies have been gray. I wouldn't call it cloudy; I would call it bleak. It is as uninspiring as anything I've ever experienced. It's been like this for more than a week. We even skipped two significant minus tide walks because the winds have been fierce and the air wet with precipitation that isn't exactly rain...but is.

So, to break the spell of utter doldrums we made ourselves go for a walk. We went to the marsh because it's close by and doesn't require a back-breaking climb through the rocky cliffs to get down the the windy bleak beach. It was gray there too, of course. Hardly any cars in the usually packed parking lot. The birds are all hiding and have been for a while, tending to their nests and probably wondering if they should move someplace sunnier. Even the little crabs have disappeared. I think they must be half way to Mexico by now. Seriously, though, no birds. Well except for this one.

It was behaving just like a White-tailed Kite. We watched it for a while, hovering hovering flapping its wings and hovering hovering. I even made a little video of it. But a White-tailed kite against a gray white sky doesn't exactly make for great photos or videos. While we were out there a man we had seen many times at the marsh came over to us and told us that we were watching a Marsh Hawk (a Northern Harrier). He said that he had been videoing it yesterday and it kept swooping at him. He thought it was going to claw his eyes out. He showed us the short video he shot on his cell phone. It really did swoop at him big time. Really close to his face. It was wild. But he was wrong about the bird we were watching. It was a White-tailed Kite. I didn't tell him. Maybe the bird that dive-bombed him really was a Marsh Hawk. We all get to dream.



24 comments:

  1. California grey, England wall-to-wall sunshine - it's a topsy-turvey world. I was watching Marsh Harriers on Friday which have chosen to nest at my local bird reserve this year. I hope it brightens up there soon.

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    1. John-- We are stuck in the gloomy north coast. The rest of California is basking in the sunlight. I read about Marsh Harriers yesterday and learned that they nest on the ground. Do you get to see that? Do they dive bomb there too?

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  2. Goodness, just looking at those pictures brought me down a bit. Can't imagine having to live in such gloom. Hope it breaks soon.

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    1. Patti-- Really sorry these gloomy pics brought you down. I'm hoping for some sunlit photos in the future. The weather report keeps promising me, and I keep believing.

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  3. Sending love to you. Grey here, too, but not as bleak and grey as I remember Arcata and McKInleyville being this time of year. I remember the damp wind. I remember staying inside and reading in bed, and then I remember walking anyway but longing for better days. I remember learning to use ginger with vegetables and rice on those cold windy spring days in coastal Humboldt County. I remember my sister bringing me and a friend of hers to a place inland, above the greyness -- a place where the sun was shining. A place by a river, with warm rocks to sit on. A place on Highway 299, the house of someone she knew, a house looking down to the Mad River.

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    1. am-- It's a gray that is hard to. forget. We were thinking about heading inland into the mountains and along the rivers here, but checked the weather and saw that it was gloomy for many, many miles. Soon they say... soon, the sun will return. We are waiting.

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    1. 37paddington-- Yes, dreams always. Thank you for that.

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  5. I've been through that area so many times over the years, and camped in spots up and down that coast - and it certainly can be grey. One thing about oceans -- they can generate an endless supply of rain and clouds. The Pacific can be quite persistent. The Atlantic doesn't seem to do that so much. I've always found that the Pacific feels powerful -- immense -- and sort of brooding. I don't really know what I mean by that, but it's just something I feel when I'm on the beaches or camped in the coastal forests. It all feels sort of primeval and as though it cares not for humans. The Atlantic seems sort of brisk and wilful - cantankerous, dangerous, but also sort of playful in a crazy way. Again, can't explain why I feel this, but have spent enough time on both coasts to feel how different these oceans and their weather seem. We had Northern Harrier that nested on our farm in Ontario. They have a very white patch on their back ahead of the tail -- it is very distinctive. I used to see them in winter while at the cabin in Arizona too -- coursing along a few feet above the tops of the mesquite, following game trails as they searched for prey. The ones in Ontario did the same thing -- moving just above the willow brush on the soggy area at the back of my land. I've never seen one dive at a human -- they can hover though -- you sometimes see one stall and hover as it takes a better look at prey on the ground before it dives. I find they tend to ignore humans so can barely imagine one attacking someone unless maybe there was a nest nearby. I've only seen Kites in Arizona and only occasionally along a creek in oak savanna and grasslands near Sonoita. They do more hovering that Harriers. I find them quite distinctive due to the whiteness and the dark shoulders. Hope you get some sunny days soon. I'm a sun worshipper, so the grey would be weighing heavily on me too.

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    1. bev-- Yes, the Pacific really does have a crazy big influence on the weather, skies, moods, etc. A long week of grey is very very long indeed. It is starting to really get to me. I like being outside. It doesn't have to be warm, but it does have to be bright. Supposedly it's going to clear up. It's amazing how much I believe those crazy weather reports. The man who saw the Harrier said that it was probably nesting. That makes sense. I wish I had looked more closely at his very short video, but it was definitely a large bird dive-bombing him. Yes, we see Harriers very often at the marsh, more often than we see the Kites.

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  6. My comments keep vanishing partvway through. Been trying to express my appreciation for cool gray days, since things are heating up in our neck of the coast.
    Good sleepin' weather!

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    1. isabelita-- I've heard the same thing from other commenters that their comments disappear. Mmmm? I can't figure out what that's about. We had about a half hour of bright gorgeous sunlight this morning. Went for a 2 mile walk and loved every minute of it. The gray returned. I have fond memories!

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  7. It has been overcast, gray, and rainy here in Central Florida this past week. At first it seemed a nice respite from relentless heat and sun. Now I'm getting tired of it.

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    1. Colette- After a lot of heat and relentless sun, I would imagine that a bit of overcast rainy gray would feel good. It does get tiresome pretty fast though.

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  8. yes, those low dark grey skies really get me down, too. I remember them from summers on the Monterey Bay. Glad you got out for one walk anyway. Kind of you not to correct that fella -- no use in arguing that point. Hope it gets sunny soon. (Do you have a sauna set up at home?)

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    1. Tara-- Luckily the sun rose this morning in a blue sky and for a brief time we were fully lit. We went for a 2 mile walk before 7:00 am. It was great. Then it clouded up again, but it's been a bit lighter today and so much better. No sauna here...yet!

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  9. It's interesting that your skies are so gray at the moment. Surely summer will bring clearer weather! I was reading that even Seattle has been sunny lately. I would think their weather would be somewhat similar to yours (though I realize it's hundreds of miles north).

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    1. Steve-- We had a sunny day on Monday. It was so wonderful. Usually our summers are foggy in the mornings, but this weather is pretty weird. It even made the headlines of the local newspaper.

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  10. We get a lot of days like that but I don't mind them. Great looking bird you spotted

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    1. Bill-- We do get a lot of days like this, but this persistent gray is a bit longer than usual. Glad you liked the bird!

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  11. A poetic perspective of grey:
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/feb/08/poem-of-the-week-grey-by-edwin-morgan

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    1. CCorax-- Thank you for this link. I loved this:
      Let’s leave the window, and write.
      No need to wait for a fine blue
      to break through.
      We must live, make do.

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  12. I know gray can be depressing when it lasts too long, but we have had so little of it, and the rain it can bring, for so long that I would actually appreciate having some gray.

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    1. Mark-- Gray can be good after long spells of relentless heat and sun, but a month of it can be fairly depressing. We did have a sunny day for the first day of the Kinetic Sculpture Race, and oh it was beautiful in every way. Hope you get some rain there.

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